Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have a legal obligation to provide a certain standard of care. When they are in breach of that standard, whether due to medical malpractice or personal injury, then a negligence lawsuit can be filed.
In the lead up to a nursing home negligence lawsuit, the following actions can be considered as proof of neglect:
- A failure to keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards. This can include failure to notice areas where slip and fall accidents might occur or preventing incidents of assault between residents. A reasonable level of due diligence must be met in these situations, among several others.
- Hiring practices, such as when an employee is hired who ends up neglecting or abusing a resident. Of additional relevance is the improper training and/or supervision of employees, as well as understaffing.
- Negligent supervision of residents in such cases as when they fall or injure themselves by other means.
- Failure to establish or maintain reasonable standards of health and safety, meaning cleanliness or sanitary conditions in rooms and common areas.
- Failure to provide medical treatment that would be considered adequate or in-line with the proper standard of care.
- Here we can include failure to give medication, improper care for existing long-term issues like dementia or diabetes, failure to promote or assist with mobility issues, and failure to report signs of infection or illness to nurses and doctors.
- Resident neglect that leads to any number of safety or medical issues, including but not limited to bed sores.
- Social and emotional neglect, as in isolating vulnerable residents, not providing mobility assistance in the form of canes, wheelchairs, or walkers, thereby leaving residents confined to their rooms, and otherwise forgetting to bring residents with mobility or mental issues into common areas.
- Neglect of basic living needs, like failure to keep rooms at a normal temperature, neglecting to clean common areas, and providing inadequate food and water.
- Neglecting resident’s personal hygiene, as in failure to change a resident’s clothes or properly bathe a senior.
As we see here, nursing home neglect is different from physical and emotional abuse from staff members, otherwise known as nursing home abuse. Nursing home neglect is more nuanced. If you or a relative notice those issues it may be time to consider a lawsuit. Additionally, the following signs and symptoms can show proof of neglect:
- Broken bones
- New or unrelated medical issues
- Personal hygiene issues
- Personality changes
- Unexplained injuries
In cases of nursing home neglect, the facility and individual staff members may be held responsible. The facilities have several duties worth keeping in mind; to hire and train qualified individuals to provide proper care, to have enough people on staff to give care to all residents, and to ensure cleanliness across the board. Individual staff members have a smaller room for error, since they are responsible for assessing each resident’s needs while providing accommodations and treatment.
Lawsuits for nursing home neglect should begin as soon as signs and symptoms present themselves. The first step should be to contact a qualified nursing home abuse attorney in Birmingham, or wherever you live, who can determine whether you should go after the facility, the individual workers, or both. The complaint will take into account any explanation of how the resident was harmed, any relevant facts relating to how they were neglected, and the names of those involved.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!